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The Innovative Medicines Initiative: a European public-private partnership that mostly benefits Big Pharma

IN FOCUSEurope's "Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines" (IMI) was created in 2007. The official objective was to improve the drug development process, so that the pharmaceutical sector could produce safer, more effective new drugs in the long term. How has the partnership measured up?
Full review (4 pages) available for download by subscribers.


  • The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private partnership set up in 2007 between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), has received over two billion euros in public funding.
  • After ten years of operation, the heads of the IMI congratulated themselves on "a unique model of collaboration" that had played its role to the full, for the benefit of patients' health.
  • The authors of a report by two health-focused non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are nowhere near as enthusiastic. They describe a skewed, opaque partnership that benefits the pharmaceutical industry. In particular, the industry used the IMI to lobby regulatory agencies and patients, and to shape the rules to favour its own interests.
  • These two NGOs express the hope that this type of partnership, with no conditions imposed on companies to ensure affordable access to health products derived from subsidised research, will not be replicated in "Horizon Europe", the European research and innovation framework programme for 2021-2027.

©Prescrire 1 April 2022

Source: "The Innovative Medicines Initiative: a European public-private partnership that mostly benefits Big Pharma" Prescrire International 2022; 31 (236): 108-111. Subscribers only.

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See also:

"Horizon 2020: need
to improve public return
on public investment for
EU's investment in research
in the area of health"
(December 2017)
Advancing healthcare policy

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